John Nagl

One of the nation’s leading experts on modern war, Dr. John Nagl was one of the co-authors of the US Army and US Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. He was previously the inaugural Minerva Research Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and also taught at West Point and Georgetown University. Dr. Nagl was a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy Class of 1988 who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Dr. Nagl is also a Visiting Professor in the War Studies Department at Kings College of London, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Dr. Nagl was previously the President of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C. He served on the Defense Policy Board and on the Reserve Forces Policy Board and testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Dr. Nagl served in the Army for 20 years, leading a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and serving as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was the Alumnus of the Year of Creighton Preparatory High School in 2012. Dr. Nagl is the author of Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War and Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife. He has also been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on “ABC News,” “MSNBC,” "The News Hour" with Jim Lehrer and "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.  

He speaks regularly on modern war and on the challenges of large organizational change. He is currently serving as the ninth headmaster of the prestigious Haverford School outside of Philadelphia.    

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  • Organizational Learning and Change Expert
  • Counterinsurgency Expert
  • Former President of‍‍‍ the Center for New American Security and life member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Current Headmaster of The Haverford School
  • Author of Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War and Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife

Eating Soup with a Knife:  Building a Learning Organization

Dr. Nagl, whose Oxford University doctoral dissertation studied how organizations adapt to change, describes the process by which he led change under fire in the US Army, one of the world's largest and most complex organizations.

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Philadelphia, PA

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